So, here is a quick summary of the last couple of months:
The beginning of September had Dude and I travel to Stockholm just the two of us. The au pair came and stayed with the kids and played taxi driver/homework monitor for a long weekend. Sweden is not a cheap place to visit. It is one of the most expensive, if not THE most expensive, place to see in all of Europe. Yes, even more pricey than London and Paris. I've been to both of them too and can vouch for it. It was a lovely place though. Incredibly clean. Everyone is friendly. The food was great. A great amount to go and see. Dude's favorite was, of course, the Vaasa Museum. We were in there 4.5 hours. If he doesn't understand how much I love him to stay in there that long, than he is a fool.
It is definitely a place I would encourage you to visit. I would go back in a heartbeat if given the chance.
At the end of the month, the girls and I went to Berlin to participate in a swim meet. Both girls are swimming competitively and are enjoying the opportunities. We went a couple of days early to do some exploring of the city and took a tour with our group. It was very interesting to see the city that I had heard so much about. My father in law is from there as was most of his family. Family we will never get to meet as the war made sure of that. But to hear the stories and have the addresses to look at when we walked by made the city seem all that more important to the kids. We did visit the iconic sites. We received some not nice glances while posing at the Brandenburg Gate, youngest daughter says, "Wow, this isn't all that big. Paris' gate was MUCH bigger." Yikes. Snap the picture, quick! and get back on the bus.....
I have been out and about a bit. In October, when I should have posted, the family and I had been a couple of places but were in the midst of the school's fall break. A week long holiday that proceeds the end of the first quarter so the entire school takes off. Nice. If you are not working and have the flexibility to jaunt all over Europe, it is definitely the bee's knees. As most Europeans do, they all take off to some holiday home/resort and enjoy the break. We did a little bit. We went hiking in Luxembourg. Beautiful weather. Beautiful trails. And a royal wedding the same day and we didn't even realize it. That would explain why everyone was so incredibly decked out and we looking like, well, like dirty hikers who have no clue that the royal family was celebrating anything. Tourist.
I did manage to get started on the Christmas knitting. I made up 7 knitted advent wreaths. Nope. Didn't take a single picture of one. I will try to go back to a couple of the recipients and beg for the opportunity to snatch a couple before they are put away for the year. Otherwise, you will have to take my word for it. I also did start a pair of socks. I've had the yarn marinating for several years in the stash and felt it was time to actually make something with it. Plain vanilla socks was just what the striping called for. Cruised right along with the first and was busy knocking out the second when I broke not just one needle, not two needles, but a total of three needles. Yes, you read that correctly, three needles within a week of each other. UGH! I was so upset. Especially because they were the really nice rosewood double points. So, the second sock is just sitting there laughing at me. And I am okay with that.
This brings us up to November. With two birthdays, Thanksgiving, and starting a new job, the month really flew by for all of us. The youngest child hit the first double digit. We really struggled as to help her celebrate the milestone in a significant way we were doing for the other two. (All three kids this year had significant milestones. Middle child we took to Paris to help celebrate. Oldest we took to London to help celebrate. Youngest felt as though Berlin was her celebrating so it was okay.) Anyway, back to Oldest- he turned 18 on the 18th. We asked him what he would like for his birthday. He replied with wanting to see London before leaving Europe. Without sisters in tow. So we did. We arranged for the au pair to come for the girls and the three of us flew to London for a long weekend. Boy, did we pack it in too. London Eye, Big Ben, Crown Jewels, London Bridge, London Tower, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Changing of the Guards, Jack the Ripper Walking tour, rode a double decker bus, the Tube, the Train, went to the Aquarium, Spamalot in live theater, and best of all- Skyfall. Oh, how I want to go back. I could read all the signs and understand all the tours....
So, now it is December and we are fast approaching Christmas. We have not gone anywhere this month. We were supposed to go to Malta, a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea after Christmas, but since I cannot due to full time employment, the trip has been postponed.
With that in mind, please come and visit when you can. We are officially half way done with our assignment here. This is the first forewarning. There is only 1 year left for visitation. Once the 6 month mark hits, we will not be able to accommodate late comers for housing or time off to take people places. There is too much stress involved with packing out for stateside relocations and car shipments back to take on the additional stress. Movers come even earlier. Please consider the trip sooner than later. We miss you.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!